Sometime after the infamous Denver debate last fall, which by most media accounts should have forced the president to immediately quit the race and resign in shame, a few of us who had been with him since the earliest days tried to assess where the performance ranked on our list of All-Time Worst ObamaWorld Moments.
It was an exercise in gallows humor, but it lifted our spirits to recall how many times the president had been so mistakenly and definitively counted out over the last eight years. There was the New York Post headline from October 3, 2007, that always hung in Bill Burton’s campaign office: “CLINTON NEARLY READY FOR HER CORONATION.” And who could forget where they were when the news broke about the Reverend Wright or Bittergate scandals that Washington just knew would destroy Obama’s candidacy? In early September 2008, a Politico story even ran the following quote from a Democratic pollster I’ve still never heard of: “A failure to take Sarah Palin seriously will cost the Obama campaign.”
And all this was before we got to the White House.
At some point, the president heard about our little list, laughed, and began sharing his own nominations. They were very different. The meeting in the winter of 2008 where his new economic team told him just how deep the free fall would be. The moment after the Massachusetts special election when it appeared that health-care reform was dead. The debt-limit crisis in the summer of 2011. The oil spill. The first day he greeted military caskets at Dover Air Force Base. Fort Hood. Tucson.
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